Lambeth Conferences

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Assemblies of the bishops of the Anglican Communion held about every ten years under the presidency of the Abp. of Canterbury, originally in Lambeth Palace, but since 1978 in the University of Kent at Canterbury. The first Conference was held in 1867, in response to a request from the Synod of the Anglican Church in Canada, which was concerned about the unsettling effects of the case of Bp. J. W. Colenso and the publication of Essays and Reviews. The idea of a Council authorized to define doctrine was abandoned, and the resolutions of Lambeth Conferences, though significant expressions of the opinions of the Anglican episcopate, are not binding. The Conference of 1920 issued an important ‘Appeal to All Christian People’ for reunion, which was sent to the leaders of Christian communities throughout the world. That of 1958 gave guarded approval to family planning. The 1978 Conference accepted the de facto ordination of women in some Provinces; that of 1998 affirmed the legitimacy of the position of those who did not accept the ordination of women, and it issued an important statement on homosexuality (q.v.).

Subjects: Christianity.

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